Posts Tagged With: theology of suffering and joy

From Richard Wurmbrand to Our Suffering Sovereign

I’ve finished another chapter draft in the book I am writing, A Traveler’s Guide through Suffering and Joy. I will give you a link to it below. This is how the chapter starts:

Richard Wurmbrand retells a fascinating Jewish legend in his book, 100 Prison Meditations. Moses is sitting at a well when three men, one at a time, stop by. (Apparently, Moses is simply an observer, out of sight.)

The first man unknowingly loses his purse of money in the sand. After he leaves, a second man passes through, finds the purse lying in the sand by the well and gladly takes it with him. Later, a third man comes to the well, drinks, and falls asleep there. The first man returns for his purse and kills the innocent, third man, believing him to be the thief.

Moses questions God. Continue reading

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Chapter 2: The Ground Under Our Feet

Today’s post will not be long. I have another chapter to offer you along with some gorgeous pictures of our back yard in fabulous fall colors. I hope the pictures make you smile. And if you want to explore the chapter, you can.

I’ll only post one or two more chapters, and then then I’ll go back to writing my regular, topical blog posts (which may sometimes relate to the book). I will be taking down my chapters by the end of the year, so they will not be permanently on this blog site.  If you’d like for me to write on a particular topic, do submit a comment and let me know!

Since my last post almost a month ago,

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Categories: Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil, Spiritual Growth, Theology | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Navigator’s Guide, Chapter 1; Banking on The Cure

Back so soon! Yes, I am.

I was going to upload my draft of chapter one two weeks ago, and then last week, but life took over as you realize from reading my previous two posts.

Uncle Bud is dancing in heaven, or whatever he is doing. I know my dad is dancing. What would Uncle Bud be doing? I hope you read my last post about him. I’d like to upload some more pictures and a video of Aunt Mary being given the folded flag by a military representative of the president of the United States, followed by the 21 gun salute and taps. Very moving.  Maybe I’ll do that yet this fall. Keep an eye out!

 I’ve revised my chapter one for my upcoming Bible Study, A Traveler’s Guide Through Suffering and Joy, and I want to make it available to you for your blessing and to offer me constructive input. I’ve made available the chapter of introduction, and I expect to upload chapters 1, 2, and maybe 3. You can print them and put them in a binder to use. And if you’re not interested, just enjoy the posts. 

Readers of the downloads should know that chapter one is a set-up for the theology of suffering and joy that will be explored in the following chapters. The chapter of introduction sets up the project. Chapter one sets up the practical theology to be explored in the chapters to follow.

Here is a draft of chapter 1:

Chapter 1 A Traveler’s Guide – Three Cosmos

Now, for those of you who are not interested in perusing the Bible study, let me encourage you (and every reader) with the words of a hymn, “Come, Ye Disconsolate.” I’ve seen three verses to this hymn, but the first two were written by the Irish poet and author, Thomas Moore, who lived from 1779 – 1852. 

Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish,
Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel.
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;
Earth has no sorrow that heav’n cannot heal.

Joy of the desolate, light of the straying,
Hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure!
Here speaks the Comforter, tenderly saying,
“Earth has no sorrow that heav’n cannot cure.”


How do these words minister to your heart?  What Scriptures support its theme?

Thomas Moore’s life was not one that I would hold up as an example of Christian piety, but I am sure there is more to him than what I’ve read. He lived a worldly life, it appears to me. I’m not sure of the depths of his Christian faith, but he did write a good number of hymns. (I believe I read 32.) His wrote much poetry as well as biography, satire, and other works.

Moore did experience much suffering in his private life. All five of his children died young — in infancy, youth, or young adulthood. The one who lived the longest lived to be 27. The parents outlived their children. Interestingly, this hymn was published in 1816, before any of the children died. The first to die was the following year.  God had given him solace before he needed it. I wonder if his own hymn ministered to him and his family.

Well, that’s pretty sad. Hmm. Not where I wanted to end this. Yet, there is serious and needed consolation in this hymn that is not sad, but communicates a quiet sweetness which is quite clear in verse two.

We don’t need to know anything about the author of these words  to find them useful — as a balm and encouragement.

“Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot cure.” Isn’t it interesting that just as our past can impact our present, so also our future expectations can influence our today?

Actually, we can leverage our future to grasp support and strength for today. Not only is there comfort here; there is motivation. Listen to Hebrews 12:1-3, and hear the encouragement and motivation. Jesus provides both the inspiration and the strength:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,

let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, 

and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners,

so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Jesus, for the joy set before Him — leveraged His future to draw stamina for the current calling.

I’ve thought of this concept often, and wanted to share this idea with you. I have to ask Jesus to help me leverage that eternal perspective for the current moment, because it does not come naturally to me. It is supernatural. 

“Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot cure.”

Uncle Bud is cured.

Aunt Mary, his wife of nearly 41 years, is banking on the cure.

So am I.



Categories: Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil, Spiritual Growth, Theology | Tags: , | 2 Comments

So Jesus Made Haste — For Uncle Bud

It was just a week ago today that I posted, saying that I never expected a month to pass before my next post, but it had. So, why am I posting just a week later?[1] I just have to tell you. This past week has been like a life time for me.

In the last post I threw out the Latin phrase “festina lente” which means “make haste slowly” and I said that this should be my motto. I noted that I can do the “lente” part, the slow part, and Jesus, in the fullness of time, will do the “festina” part, making haste.

And so Jesus has made haste in our family, for the fullness of time did come for our dear Uncle Bud, just last Sunday morning as he was finishing a good breakfast in the cafeteria of the nursing home. Uncle Bud, Sir Uncle Bud, as some of us called him, had just finished his typical breakfast. Two eggs over easy and toast. Delicious. He was in good spirits and appeared to be doing pretty well for his 97, nearing 98 years.

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A Traveler’s Guide: Making Haste Slowly

I never expected a month to pass before I would submit more material to you from my coming book (a faith walk), A Traveler’s Guide Through Suffering and Joy!

Oh, I have been writing. “Festina lente” — “make haste slowly” should be my motto. I think this oxymoron suites my life.

As a child I was a “slow learner,” and then I caught up. So as an older person (what I call “Early Old” – the 60s), I can be a slow writer. I do hope to catch up. Just like the tortoise. I will catch up, and maybe even move ahead.  “Hare, hare!”

Simmer, simmer, write, write, exhaustion, distraction, distraction, exhaustion, family activity, church/friend activity, exhaustion, simmer, write. . . .  (Stuff inside exhaustion and distraction some headaches and an angry body.) Sometimes my faith walk is a faith crawl, with a snooze tucked in.

Ah, I do have some pages for you to read. Let me see. . . .

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A Traveler’s Guide through Suffering and Joy – Draft 1 of Introduction

I’m submitting to you the first draft of the first chapter of my book, the chapter of introduction.

I would like for you to read it (in light of my last two posts) and then comment on it — if you have any constructive encouragements (what works for you) and recommendations (what doesn’t work or suggestions for improvement).

I’d like to fuss over it to you, explaining this or that, but I’ll withhold those thoughts. Please read the attached chapter. It is only five pages long. This chapter precedes the twelve chapters, setting up the book, for the most part.

Please treat the document with respect, noting it is my work, and do not pass it on without proper attribution. Thank you!

I’m submitting it only as a Word document, so I hope you can open it.

Introduction to A Traveler’s Guide through Joy and Suffering

Open for comments. (Oh, my. . . .)

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Categories: Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil | Tags: | 15 Comments

What Do You Think of a Traveler’s Guide?

I’ve been praying over and simmering on the book I am currently crafting — a Bible study to lead us through an exploration of suffering and joy. (Note last post.) This study will develop a theology of suffering and joy to help us make sense of the mixed bags of our lives and to help us grow up in Christ.

I thought I was going to write this book soon after completing my doctorate in 2016. I did begin various ventures in 2017, but I’m just now attempting to complete it so several groups can start using it in January 2020.  You, JNC readers, can work through drafted chapters with me, if you so desire, in the coming months.

I think the book will have twelve chapters and each chapter will have five to six sections. I thought I had decided on a book title and now I’m considering a second idea. I’d like your input.

What do you think of this title and sub-title? Continue reading

Categories: Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

The Ancient Paths and A “New Ology” to Enlighten Our Way

It’s time.  Time for a new topic and study. Of course, our previous theme, “spirituality,” is involved in everything we consider on JNC.

I think about you all as friends with whom I’d like to discuss all sorts of things. I’ve been tempted to go in five directions. Then, a month ago,  a friend asked me a question and put a particular expectation on me. Suddenly, I have direction. Wow.

For several years, I’ve been seeking God’s guidance on what to do with all the work I did to produce my doctoral dissertation. I have been willingly distracted by our move from Arizona to Indiana, getting settled in, spending time developing deeper relationships with some family members, searching for a church home, making new friends…. You understand. I was satisfied to procrastinate (while praying for God’s direction).

When Sandy, my close friend from high school, and her husband who live in South Carolina visited us last month, Sandy wanted to know what I have done with my dissertation. Was the book ready? She wants to teach it at her ladies’ Bible study at her church beginning this January. Sandy put a fire under me!

If I pursue this, would you be interested in having access to this Bible study that unfolds a biblical theology of suffering, but not only of suffering but of suffering and joy? Would you be interested Continue reading

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